Session Reports Curse of Strahd - S1E01: Tea with the Duchess


Staff member

Tonight was our first proper session of The Curse of Strahd. The party numbers five, all level 1:

  • Ser Alys de Rouge (a half-orc Fighter with a soldier background, currently the leader of the town militia of Daggerford), played by Tom (Guvnor). Lawful Neutral
  • Kelwarin (Kel) (a half-elf Sorceror flush with the powers of wild magic, an outlander), played by Graham (First Age). Chaotic Good.
  • Gaddock Teeg (a halfling wizard and former prizefighter), played by Alex (Doggetay), Neutral Good.
  • Roscoe Tosscobble (a halfling Cleric of Life, a follower of Diancecht, god of medicine and healing, former hermit and companion of Ser Adon), played by Jag (Jagusti). Lawful Good.
  • Ser Adon of House Starbright (a half-orc Paladin, from a knightly background, with two human retainers and a priest), played by Paul (dr_mitch). Lawful Good.
A completely non-human party, so I will be considering how the somewhat insular and very human inhabitants of Barovia react to them along the way. I can't wait to find out how they develop.

We are playing using Discord for audio, and Roll 20 for visuals. I have the Player's Handbook and Monster Manual on the system so the players have full access to the material to reference in the game.

Part 1

29th October

The party except for Ser Adon (who has been delayed due to family matters) travel north towards Daggerford. Ser Alys has been sent as escort to bring them to see Duchess Morwen. As they near Daggerford, they hear a child screaming, and see three wolves attacking a child around five years old. [Excuse for a battle to get everyone including me used to Roll 20].

The party surprise the wolves and mostly win initiative. Ser Alys charges into battle, closing most of the gap. Roscoe Tosscobble attacks the wolf closest to the child with a sacred flame, hurting it and then Kelwarin finishes it off with a critical firebolt attack doing 11 damage and setting the corpse on fire. Gaddock Teeg casts a sleep spell and knocks the remaining two wolves out. They are quickly dispatched and the party comfort the child and head into town across the river bridge. The gate guard challenges the visitors [bit of a cock-up here where both Tom and I forgot that his character was head of the militia] and eventually, Ser Alys ordered Johnson the guard to recover the wolves' bodies for pelts, whilst they headed to the castle to see the Duchess. The child was passed to the cook to look after; once fed the housekeeper took responsibility.

The party had arrived a day early, but hearing the tale the Duchess summoned them for refreshments. They shared a rare red Barovian vintage from the Wizard of Wines and enjoyed canopees. They discussed the wolves and the Duchess explained their commission; hunt down the wolves which are raiding the hamlets near the Misty Forest and kill them. Be prepared in case there was a werewolf present. The stories coming back tell of tall wolves standing on their hind legs. The party retire, somewhat concerned about the potential of lycanthropes.

30th October

The day of the formal dinner. Still no Ser Adon. The party meet with Zelrun Roaringhorn, a Harper Wizard who takes a shine to Gaddock Teeg. He gifts him a magic scroll to remove curses in case anyone is infected. Ser Alys has a discussion with Ser Lanniver Strayl, a Knight of Tyr and member of the Order of the Gauntlet. He gifts the party potions of heroism and healing to help them. Neither of the visitors will accompany the party. The Duchess advises caution and presents the party with a warrant of authority that demands cooperation from those who the part meets. Horses and ponies are procured, along with supplies. The part of the Misty Forest that the trouble has been reported near is over thirty miles away, partly across the country. The party enjoy the formal dinner but know that they must be up early in the morning to start their hunt. Kelwarin charms the Duchess with elven smoothness. Roscoe Tosscobble is concerned that the secret magic amber stone he has is now pulling in eastwards, but swinging from north to south and back.

31st October - All Hallows

The party leave early in the morning, with word left for Ser Adon when he and his retinue arrive. The day is spent hard riding, some twenty miles or so. They stop at Liam's Hold before nightfall on a cold and frosty evening. Mists start to rise as the sun drops. The party called upon Baroness Gwynedd Zenhareth and use the warrant to gain hospitality at the castle rather than the Inn. The Baroness recognises Ser Alys and apologises that she is not dressed as finely as when they last met at court but explains that this is a working farm. They get first-hand information which confirms the reports of abnormally large wolf attacks. The village of Forest Gables has suffered badly, with six members of one family slaughtered and three children stolen away. The party sleep well and rise early with the dawn. The Moon is full.

1st November - All Souls

Setting off to the east, it takes until just after midday to reach Forest Gables. The hamlet shows signs of attack and shutters are secured. The party are greeted by Iverts Arksnis, one of the elders (who they don't bother to find the name off). He explains that the last serious attack was nearly a week ago, and a whole family was slaughtered at the edge of the hamlet. Before that, people on their own and animals have been taken. This has gone on for at least a month.

Set some distance out, the cottage shows signs of a sustained and violent attack with the thatch broken through and windows and shutters smashed. Inside, blood is sprayed everywhere and Iverts describes the six adults present as having been torn limb from limb. They've been buried since. Kelwarin finds evidence of distorted large wolf footprints, and the start of a trail. They follow this on horseback towards the forest boundaries through scrublands. Gaddock spots wolf fur snagged on a branch some six feet about the ground and the party starts to get an inkling of the size of the creature that they may be facing. As they reach the forest boundary, Gaddock spots a child's rag doll, dropped on the floor. Inspection shows that it has some blood on it.

It's close to an hour before sunset, so Ser Alys suggests that the party bivouac without a fire so they can ambush any creatures that come out of the woods heading the hamlet. They dig a foxhole to hide them and get out of the wind and settle down for a cold night. The mists draw in, and the moon shines eerily from behind cloud.

2nd November
Sometime after midnight, Ser Alys is at watch when she sees movement at the forest boundary, and sees at least four shapes set off and out. Waking her colleagues, she calls out and challenges the interlopers. Turning, wolf snarls are heard out of the mist and a man-size wolf with three smaller companions turns towards the party, surprised...

To be continued on 3rd December 2019

19 November 2019

Continue reading...
Last edited:

First Age

D&D h@ck3r and Hopepunk
Staff member
It was nice to discuss 5e character builds with my daughter over lunch today. I'm just going to let that sink in for a moment. Aww very nice.

Erin was shocked at the low stats of my sorcerer. Also the zero armour proficiency and 8 hit points. How we laughed at AC10.

Going to enjoy this one. Embrace the wildness of magic.